Dr. Yona Baguma, the newly appointed NARO Director General, received official instruments of power from his predecessor, Dr. Ambrose Agona, on May 5, 2023, at the Imperial Golf Course Hotel, Entebbe. In attendance was the Rtd. Major General David Kasura Kyomukama, Permanent Secretary Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries (MAAIF), NARO’s top management, NARO Governing Council, PARI Directors of Research, and staff.
Robert Bagonza, Director of Human Resources, said in the context of public service, handing over and taking over of offices is mandatory; it’s not by choice but by obligation. Handing over is premised on the fact that when one is hired, they are given tasks, and it’s of necessity that when the time comes, they hand over the assignments that were given to them. “These include all tools and instruments that were handed over to us to facilitate us in doing the work”.
He clarified that an official handover can fail due to illness, imprisonment, no one willing to do so, or the process of securing a replacement being so encumbered that it becomes difficult.
In his acceptance speech, Dr. Yona Baguma said he acknowledges the task and responsibilities that the position brings, understands the work that needs to be done, and pledges to perform his duties in that capacity in order to accomplish NARO’s purpose. He acknowledged that NARO staff are his first clients with whom he will work closely.
He further said that to be able to lead effectively, he will rely on the assistance of the NARO Governing Council as well as NARO staff in their numerous categories and roles to maintain the NARO brand and keep it aimed at the organization’s strategic goal of having a positive impact on people. He recognized the work done by the previous Director General, Dr. Ambrose Agona, in supporting NARO and ensuring that the nation’s agriculture industry as a whole thrives. He also requested continued support from the technical and political leadership of MAAIF as leader of the agro-industrialization program.
Dr. Ambrose Agona took accountability for the work done during his tenure and the challenges therein. He handed over all policy documents, staff, and the asset registry, amongst other items, to the new Director General of NARO, Dr. Yona Baguma, and wished him well in his new role.
He informed the guests that this was the first time in the history of NARO that a Director General leaves ceremoniously, and he was happy to peacefully hand over the office to his successor, Dr. Yona Baguma
The Permanent Secretary of MAAIF, Rtd. Major David Kasura, thanked Dr. Agona for building a good foundation together with his management team. He went on to point out the key areas that NARO should focus on if they are to make meaningful contributions to the country’s social and economic transformation. He decried the challenges that affect the agricultural sector, which include low productivity, low technology, an increasing population, external factors like the Russia-Ukraine war, and a lack of conformity to international standards, especially for exports.
The issues affecting our exports include low productivity, a lack of good variety to export, and a lack of good phytosanitary services. ” NARO must answer the imperative question of the commercialization, resilience, and productivity of production systems. NARO should provide solutions to the production systems. The gathering was informed that the basic goal of Uganda’s agriculture is commercialization, so people must be able to make money, with productivity being very important for commercialization.
He also mentioned that research is a critical part of agriculture, and NARO’s work is cut out in this regard. He guided the DG that he should be able to understand what he is supposed to do and must be able to lead, inspire, and guide the team, though it can be challenging because leading many intelligent people can be difficult because they ask a lot of questions.
Dr. John Wasige, the chairman of the Science Committee, represented the chairperson of the NARO Governing Council and thanked the outgoing DG for doing a good job and being able to make tremendous achievements in various areas.
“A lot has been achieved in the fields of livestock, crop resources, and biotechnology”, to this I commend Dr. Agona and team. I am looking forward to signature achievements in the transformation of land, water, energy, and food systems.” The task given to Dr. Yona was to identify signature achievements that are measurable. The council leadership promised to work with him to identify game-changing technologies that bring benefits and impact lives. Dr. Ambrose Agona received a certificate of service and a plaque from NARO in recognition of his committed and distinguished service.